Messi, who is currently leading the Golden Boot race in Qatar alongside France’s Kylian Mbappe, became Argentina’s first player to score in four World Cups and their record scorer with 11 goals.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi confirmed Sunday’s final will be the last World Cup game of his career.
The 35-year-old forward led Argentina to a 3-0 semifinal win over Croatia on Tuesday, and he will earn his 172nd cap this weekend as he attempts to bring Argentina its first World Cup title since 1986.
“To finish like this, it’s the best”, Lionel Messi told Argentinian sports outlet Diario Deportivo Ole after his team qualified for the final.
“I feel very happy, to be able to achieve this, to finish my World Cup journey by playing my last game in a final. It’s many years for the next one and I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. And to finish like this, it’s the best,” the Argentina captain added.
Messi, who plays for Paris St-Germain, is one of only six men to have appeared in five World Cups, joining German Lothar Matthaus, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal, Andres Guardado, and Rafael Marquez.
After scoring his fifth goal in Qatar, he also surpassed Gabriel Batistuta as the top Albiceleste scorer at a World Cup, netting 11 times.
“It’s all well and good [the records], but the important thing is to be able to achieve the group objective, which is the most beautiful thing of all,” Messi added.
“We’re just one step away, after fighting hard, and we’re going to give everything to try to make it happen this time.”
France will play Morocco in an historic semi-final on Wednesday at Al Bayt stadium. The winner will face Argentina on Sunday in the World Cup Final.